Jan Mortier

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Jan Mortier is the director of Civitatis International - Researchers Without Borders, a think tank which was based at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth until 2003, before moving to operate from London and Halifax in Canada[1][2].

Mortier's research interests focus on codifying a doctrine of humanitarian intervention and sovereign responsibility, by putting the case forward that humanitarian interventions can be legal in certain extreme circumstances even if unauthorized by the Security Council. Mortier's previous roles include working as a human rights consultant for an energy pipeline construction company, specialising in human rights issues in North Africa and the CIS region[3]


Mortier was the conference rapporteur at the 2005 final meeting of the Non Governmental Process of the Community of Democracies held at Santiago, Chile and assisted in the preparation of the Document for Ministerial Consideration that was presented to the third intergovernmental meeting of the Community of Democracies. He has been the Editor and sole Rapporteur for Mikhail Gorbachev's World Political Forum in its inaugural year in Turin where he drafted the Forum's first major publication, Toward the New World Civilisation - the annual report for 2003. Jan has also participated as an observer on the governing executive of the World Political Forum, the Scientific Committee. He has been a researcher to Air Marshal Tim Garden advising on the constitutional implications of the Civil Contingencies Bill.

Jan is a member of the Academic Council on the United Nations System and has spoken at the ACUNS, World Free from Fear conference at the UN on a new doctrine of democratic sovereignty and humanitarianism based on a universal ethic of fundamental human rights. He has written background papers for the State of the World Forum, Commission on Globalisation, National Sovereignty and Universal Challenges, Choices for the World after Iraq conference at the European Parliament. Jan is a Sir David Wills Fellow of the 21st Century Trust, having spoken at the Global Governance Scenarios for the Future conference, where he was the only British Fellow participating. He is also member of the United States Discussion Group at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).[4]

Political Views

Lord Garden and the Civil Contingencies Bill

Jan Mortier was a research assistant to Tim Garden, where his role was to advise on the constitutional implications of the civil contingencies bill. Garden welcomed the 'long awaited' bill and proposed an amendment to dilute the circumstances required to invoke the use of the bill. He argued that 'On the point of the word "war", the Government might consider making it an "act of war", which would line it up to events like terrorism'.[5]

The bill was set up in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks and in debating the bill Garden linked the contemporary threat to the threat posed by the cold war when he argued that the MoD should be tasked with helping local authorities in the event of a terrorist attack. He said 'If we could afford the panoply of quick reaction forces and civil defence which were available to defend the United Kingdom during the Cold War, and we are under threat again, then we need to task the Ministry of Defence to assist the hard-pressed local authorities who are being tasked in the Bill'.[6].

The Guardian described the bill as posing 'potentially the greatest threat to civil liberty that any parliament is ever likely to consider'[7].

Full Spectrum Democracy

Jan Mortier argues that "democracies must create a new political architecture for the world, by first pragmatically improving what structures we have and secondly planning for new integrationist institutions". He argues that these inteventions are legal despite lacking in approval from the UN Security Council.

Mortier argues that 21st century peaceful relations between nation states have created a legitimacy which he describes as a "covenant of sovereignty". He goes on to argue that "states that do not recognise this liberal democratic and cosmopolitan based twenty-first century covenant of sovereignty, by acting as autocracies and or systematically abusing the fundamental human rights of any domestic population therefore break this bond of sovereign legitimacy".

The legal basis of this argument is that the United Nations Charter is "untenable in today’s international society". This is because nonintervention articles - 2 (4) and 2 (7), contradict Article 1 (4) and (3) of the Charter which mentions human rights as a purpose of the UN, "promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all’.

On this basis Mortier argues that the promotion of human rights in the UN charter could be given precedent over the stated principle of nonintervention. Human rights he argues is the legal basis for international inteventionism and he apllies this theory to the invasion of Iraq[8].

Iraq War

Mortier argues that the Iraq war was more widely accepted in the U.S. because it was seen as a "liberation of the Iraqi people" and it was accepted that "autocratic states breed terrorism". He argued that the reason the Iraq war failed to gain public support in the U.K. was because "In the United Kingdom we did not engage in a detailed debate like the Americans about the nature of the Iraqi tyranny and how it was our responsibility as a free society with the means to limit the suffering of the Iraqi people to act to remove Mr. Hussein and endow the Iraqi people with their own democracy".

Mortier says :"Had the government of the United Kingdom chosen to put the case to the public with the liberation of a people from a genocidal Hussein led tyranny as the primary reasoning and had they done so a year in advance the Iraq intervention would not have been so divisive"[9].



  1. Jan Mortier,The Doctrine of Intervention in the Twenty-first Century, Henry Jackson Society, accessed 10 April 2009
  2. Internet Archive, Civitatis Research, civitatis.org, Accessed 01-June-2009
  3. Speakers, Jan Mortier, tomspencer.com, Accessed 01-June-2009
  4. Associate Network, Jan Mortier, Council for a Community of Democracies, accessed 10 April 2009.
  5. Lord Garden, Civil Contingencies Bill, UK Parliament, 09-November-2004, Accessed 01-June-2009
  6. Lord Garden, Civil Contingencies Bill, Theyworkforyou.com, Accessed 01-June-2009
  7. Mathew Tempest and David Batty, Q&A: the civil contingencies bill, The Guardian, 07-January-2004, Accessed 01-June-2009
  8. Jan Mortier,The Doctrine of Intervention in the Twenty-first Century, Henry Jackson Society, accessed 10 April 2009
  9. Jan Mortier,The Doctrine of Intervention in the Twenty-first Century, Henry Jackson Society, accessed 10 April 2009
  10. National Sovereignty & Universal Challenges: Choices for the World After Iraq, Conference Report, European Centre for Public Affairs, Accessed 01-June-2009